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US embassy / Manila issues new rules for visa application

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US embassy in Manila issues new rules for visa application


By Veronica Uy


Last updated 05:09pm (Mla time) 10/05/2006


STARTING November 1 this year, applicants for non-immigrant visas to

the United States would be required to use an electronic visa

application form available for free on the Internet, the US embassy

in Manila said in an advisory.


"The US Embassy will no longer accept handwritten or typed

applications after November 1," it said.


The new rule, the US embassy said, would speed up the interview and

application process, and save time for the applicants. About 1,000

Filipinos apply for US visas every day, one of the highest visa

applications in the world.


"[Applicants] will spend less time in the consular section on the day

of their interview since they won't have to wait for embassy staff to

manually collect information from handwritten or typed applications," it said.


Instead of writing their information by hand, applicants may download

and complete the form via the Internet, http://evisaforms.state.gov.

They will be required to bring a printout of the completed three-page

form with bar code to their interview. "When printed, each [form] has

a unique 2-D bar code that US Embassy staff can electronically scan

in order to input the applicant's information. Use of the [form],

which has been available online for more than three years, allows for

quicker and more accurate data entry," the advisory said.


The embassy said all other processes and requirements for applying

for a non-immigrant visa remain the same.


To make a visa interview appointment, applicants are advised to call

1-909-101-7878 (accessible only within the Philippines through a PLDT

or Smart landline) Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., except on

Philippine and American holidays.


"You can also schedule an interview via the Internet using the

VisaPoint system, a web-based appointment and information system

available at www.us-visaservices.com/philippines," it suggested.


More information about the new system is available at

http://evisaforms.state.gov, the US Embassy Consular Section at (632)

528-6300 or fax (632) 523-1356, while information on the

non-immigrant visa application process can be found on the US

embassy's Web site at http://philippines.usembassy.gov/wwwh3024.html.

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